Category Archives: Uncategorized

Charcoal (Grill) or Bon-Fire Starters

So I’ve seen these firestarters around that are half a toilet paper tube stuffed with shredded paper and wax.  I’ve never actually used one, but I’ve seen them at military surplus stores and the like.  I came up with one that I feel is even better, mostly because it uses things that you probably already have and throw away.  I mean you could make the traditional ones by shredding junk mail and melting old candles, but wax is messy to work with and these ones practically make themselves.

We don’t eat a ton of bacon at our house, but we do have some every week or two.  We also don’t use a lot of paper towels, but this is one thing we use them for.  We put down a couple squares on a plate to soak up the grease.  I got the idea for these from using those paper towels as fire starters.  Then I got the idea to make something you could easily store and transport.  The thing that really pushed me to try this was a friend who hates using lighter fluid when cooking with charcoal because it flavors the food.

These are pretty much one of the simplest things ever to make.  When you’re done making bacon:

  1. Stuff the grease soaked paper towels in a toilet paper tube (or a section of paper towel tube). 2 towels is a pretty perfect fit.
  2. Pour liquid grease in both ends of the tube until the paper towel is soaked. (In my experience ½ pound of cooked bacon yields enough grease for 2-3 tubes
  3. Set somewhere and allow to cool.

There’s not much more to it than the normal clean-up after making bacon.

The thing I really like about these is that you can use them to start charcoal without using lighter fluid.  The first time I tried one of these was when we barbecued with my friend who hates lighter fluid.  Just pull a bit of paper towel out the end of the tube so you have something to light.  Set it on a piece of charcoal (so when the grease starts to run out, it doesn’t just drip into the bottom of the grill) and then just build up a pyramid of coal around it and light it.  This doesn’t light quite as fast as lighter fluid, but it doesn’t impart any chemical taste to your food.

If you’re using it to light a bon fire, it works pretty much the same.  Put it on top of a larger piece of wood then put smaller pieces of wood around it.  It’ll get your fire going pretty darn quick.


Resist Zine #47

Resist Zine #47

It’s been a while since I have posted anything here. Part of that is because I have been saving it up for the zine I have been working on. I just finished up that zine today. It spans some pretty serious life changes, but it still covers the topics that have been standard in Resist for years. It’s still coming from the self-sustainable, DIY mindset that it’s always come from. I write about gardening, bike riding and repair, and building musical instruments. I also spend some time on DIY home improvement projects, though in more of a storytelling format than a step by step guide. I cover our first experience butchering a turkey in the same way. Follow the link if you want to get your hands on a copy.

New website for Resist Instrument Works

I’ve been pretty bad about getting anything new posted on this blog.  I’ve got some ideas, and even some things started, I just haven’t had time to get them wrapped up.  However, toward that end I bought a new computer this last week.  We have 4 computer users at our house and only one computer that really works well.  My wife Rachael does music, and needs a computer for recording and networking.  My son does stop action movies and needs a computer for editing (and watching Youtube videos about stop action movie making, and videos about how to win the games on his antiquated gameboy when he’s allowed to play it.)  My daughter is 13 and oddly enough uses the computer less than any of us, but still wants to check her facebook and watch old school Warner Brothers cartoons.  As a writer I appreciate having access to a computer.  I could live without one, and do my writing with a pen and paper like people have done for millenia, but I’m such a slow hand writer that the prospect of sitting down and writing anything of length is pretty daunting, and usually ends up not happening at all.  Plus in order to do anything with that writing, it’s going to need to be typed up.  So why bother handwriting it first?

Recently the pieces started falling together to bring a new computer into our lives:

  • Growing aggrivation among all parties over having to share one good computer
  • Not one but TWO bonuses at work (due to my exemplary performance as a wage slave during the last busy season)

Okay, so it turns out there was only two pieces that needed to fall together… but they did.  There were a couple more pieces that had to come together for new website though.  I just got done doing the Green Gifts Fair.  The last 3 years I’ve had a big building spree in the beginning of November and the weekend before Thanksgiving brought as many canjos, cigar box guitars, cookie tin banjos, and ukuleles as I could build to the Midtown Global Market.  This year, along with the instruments I sold, I gave out about 200 business cards.  Since I don’t have a store front, my business cards list my website and email address.  However, the website I built with Wix a couple years back had never been all that good.  Giving out 200 business cards motivated me to do something about that.  Running across a little ad for Weebly at the bottom of a friend’s website was another piece of the puzzle.  The final piece was buying a computer that I could hog for a few days to get my website built.

So over my Thanksgiving break, I sat down at my new computer and got acclimated to it’s strange new keyboard by creating a new website for Resist Instrument Works.  I have to say, I was apprehensive about using Weebly at first because it’s free.  So far the free webpage builders I’ve used haven’t been that good.  However, I looked up some reviews and it seems that Weebly is a pretty great service.  So I created an account and started building.  It’s SUPER easy to use. You pick out a design and then start dragging parts into it.  You’ve got your basic pieces like titles, pictures, and paragraphs, but then you can also drag and drop galleries, contact forms, video, maps, shopping cart items & more.  It’s all pretty amazing.  When I started building web pages, I had to write all my own code.  I’d sit there for hours typing <img src=”…. only to have it not look the way I wanted to.  This one was SO freaking easy to use.  It was so nice to be able to drag the pieces around the page and put them where I wanted.  Plus, everything I used was free.  There are some services you would have to pay for, but I was able to build my whole website from scratch, for free, over the course of one weekend.

So all that said, it would be pretty sweet if you would head over to and check out my newly created website.

H-O-W & sometimes WHY

That says it doesn’t it?  This is kind of a continuation of my book, How & Why: A Do-it-yourself Guide.  It’s a place for me to pass along how-to articles before they get printed in a zine or book.  I’m not going to post everything here, but having some place where I can post stuff right away will help me to write more often.  At least, I hope that’s the way it will work.  So when I get some DIY stuff written, I’ll start posting it here.  Right now I’m working on some music stuff because it’s winter and I don’t do a lot of bike building.  Hopefully this summer I’ll get some new bicycle stuff written too.  I’ve definitely got some ideas I want to work on.

In the time it’s taken me to set up this blog, I’ve already finished writing a Lap Steel Guitar plan, so apparently it’s working.  That will be my first post after this little introductory post.

Occasionally (sometimes) I’ll post rants, the reasons I’m passionate about doing the things I do.  (Right now I’m doing a lot of reading on bicycle helmets) They’ll probably be precursors to articles destined for Resist zine.  Or this might be a good place for me to post time sensitive rantings that don’t make sense to print in Resist.  So you’ll get both, how and sometimes why.